Saturday, April 2, 2011

Song of the week: Yevgueni - Welkenraedt

Yevgueni (formed 2001 in Leuven) is one of the most beloved Belgian bands in the kleinkunst genre - a term used in Flanders about artists in the pop, rock and indie genres who perform songs in Dutch. (Further reading: An introduction to Belgian music)

Their first two albums, Kannibaal (2005) and Aan De Arbeid (2007), were not major hits but helped the band build a faithful Flemish fanbase. When the third album, We Zijn Hier Nu Toch, hit the shelves in 2009, it went all the way to number one. Expectations were sky-high for their 2011 release, Welkenraedt. The expectations were fulfilled: Most reviewers have given the album 4 out of 5 stars or more.

Yevgueni playing at Gentse Feesten 2007. (Photo: Peter Dedecker)

I was lucky enough to see Yevgueni live at a release concert for the new album at the AB in Brussels on March 24. They opened with the title track, Welkenraedt, a song about falling asleep on the train and waking up in the middle of nowhere. I've embedded the official music video, wonderfully done by Bram Algoed, Nicolas Keppens en Kristof Jakiela using only pencil and paper. Truly Belgian.



Lyrics (Dutch):

Waarom trek ik aan een deur
Waarop duwen staat in koeien van letters
En als ik op een trein spring die naar Leuven gaat
Weet jij waarom ik dan wakker word in Welkenraedt
Waarom schiet ik pas in actie als jij slapen gaat
En slaap ik door wekkers koeien van wekkers
En als er dan eindelijk een trein terug naar Leuven gaat
Denkt deze jongen dat hij er nog één over slaat

Zin, zin alles heeft zin
Ik zie nog wel de lijntjes maar ik kleur er niet meer in
Zin, alles heeft zin
Kijk goed waar je gaat en staat
Kruip niet over prikkeldraad
Neem het van mij aan mijn vriend
Zo kom je nooit in Welkenraedt

Er was hoegenaamd niks te beleven
(Sommige deuren moet je duwen)
Maar hoe minder zin het heeft
(Sommige deuren draaien rond)
Hoe meer zin j'eraan kan geven
(Som moet je naar spoor vier verhuizen)
Hoe meer zin het jou ook geeft
(En merk je dat je daar al stond)

Hoegenaamd niks te beleven
(Sommige wekkers kan je snoozen)
Maar ik ben er toch maar mooi geweest
(Sommige wekkers staan te stil)
Het is zo goed als onbereikbaar
(Die van mij houdt me 's nachts wakker)
Voor wie alle bordjes leest
(Hij doet eigenlijk nooit echt wat ik wil)

Zin, zin alles heeft zin
Ik zie nog wel de lijntjes maar ik kleur er niet meer in
Zin, alles heeft zin
Kijk goed waar je gaat en staat
Kruip niet over prikkeldraad
Neem het van mij aan mijn vriend
Zo kom je nooit in Welkenraedt

Zin, zin alles heeft zin
Ik zie nog wel de lijntjes maar ik kleur er niet meer in
Zin, alles heeft zin

Zin, zin alles heeft zin
Ik zie nog wel de lijntjes maar ik kleur er niet meer in
Zin, alles heeft zin
Kijk goed waar je gaat en staat
Kruip niet over prikkeldraad
Neem het van mij aan mijn vriend

Zo kom je nooit in Welkenraedt
Ik zit hier goed in Welkenraedt
Ik stuur wel een kaartje


Lyrics (English translation):

Why am I pulling on a door
That says 'push' in huge letters
And when I jump on a train that goes to Leuven
Do you know why I wake up in Welkenraedt
Why do I only get going when you're going to sleep
And I sleep through alarm clocks, loud alarm clocks
And when there finally is a train back to Leuven
This guy thinks he'll skip one more

Sense, sense, everything makes sense
I can still see the lines but I don't color them in anymore
Sense, everything makes sense
Watch where you walk and stand
Don't crawl over barbed wire
Take it from me, my friend
And you'll never end up in Welkenraedt

There was nothing whatsoever to do
(Some doors you have to push)
But the less sense it makes
(Some doors spin round)
The more sense you can give it
(Sometimes you must move to track four)
The more sense it gives you
(And you notice that you were already standing there)

Nothing whatsoever to do
(Some alarms you can snooze)
But I still went
(Some alarms are too quiet)
It is virtually unreachable
(Mine keeps me awake at night)
To him who reads all the signs
(It never really does what I want)

Sense, sense, everything makes sense
I can still see the lines but I don't color them in anymore
Sense, everything makes sense
Watch where you walk and stand
Don't crawl over barbed wire
Take it from me, my friend
And you'll never end up in Welkenraedt

Sense, sense, everything makes sense
I can still see the lines but I don't color them in anymore
Sense, everything makes sense

Sense, sense, everything makes sense
I can still see the lines but I don't color them in anymore
Sense, everything makes sense
Watch where you walk and stand
Don't crawl over barbed wire
Take it from me, my friend

And you'll never end up in Welkenraedt
I'm stuck here in Welkenraedt
Guess I'll send you a card

4 comments:

  1. I agree with Bika : PRACHTIG

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  2. I've been living abroad for 7 years now, so I didn't really know Yevgueni as they only became a famous name in the Belgian scene when I was already abroad. I heard friends back in Belgium mention the name to me in an email but I somehow never really paid attention, until I read a review of this album. Was it the title or the sleeve drawing that caught my attention, I don't know, but I must say Yevgueni is quite a nice band. In the Dutch speaking music scene I stick with Stijn Meuris as nr 1, but some of Yevgueni's tracks are very appealing. This track probably being the best one, the lyrics can be interpretated in many ways but I interpretate the lyrics as saying that if you never take any risks you'll never experience something pleasantly surprising. Welkenraedt being a metaphor for something surprising that you can enjoy as long as you're open for it and willing to give it a try. Maybe I am totally wrong but that's the feeling I got from the lyrics.

    Other tracks of Yevgueni I enjoyed so far are "Nieuwe meisjes", "Elisa" ... Any other suggestions which Yevgueni tracks are worth listening?

    PS: the only one I've heard so far that I dislike is the Beautiful Freak cover. I don't like Jan De Wilde...

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  3. Off the top of my head, here are some personal Yevgueni favorites: "Veel te mooie dag", "Verder zonder haar", "We zijn hier nu toch", "Werken in de media", "Als ze lacht", "In deze stad", "Aan de arbeid", "Overal schoonheid", "Manzijn", and "Morgen komt ze thuis". My fiancé would also mention the "Robbie" series of songs, which show up on every album.

    Bear in mind that I generally focus less on the lyrics and more on the music than you probably do.

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